HOW to charge for a book translation
Thread poster: Aisha Maniar

Aisha Maniar  Identity Verified
Local time: 01:18
Member (2003)
Arabic to English
+ ...
Dec 11, 2004

Dear all,
A good (direct) client has asked me if I'm interested in translating a (non-literary) book and has offered me 10% of sales' profits as payment. I would like to know HOW I should charge for the translation. Does this sound reasonable?
In the past, I have been offered my usual per-word rate as a one-off fee. What is the normal payment practice for book translations?
My client is French; is this payment practice normal in France?
Thanks for any advice/opinions in advance.
Aisha

[Edited at 2004-12-11 22:10]


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Attila Piróth  Identity Verified
France
Local time: 02:18
Member
English to Hungarian
+ ...
This offer is outstanding Dec 11, 2004

Everything depends on the book but in general I would say this is an outstanding offer. Take a look at
http://www.writersmarket.com/encyc/,

Book contract (for the author)

The usual royalty payment for hardcover books is 10 percent of the retail price on the first five thousand copies; 12 and a half percent on the next five thousand copies; and 15 percent thereafter. Advances vary by type of book, author's reputation, and sales prospects for the book. The book is copyrighted in the name of the author by the publisher.
http://www.writersmarket.com/encyc/B.asp#138

and
Translation rights
A publisher that decides to produce its own translated edition for a foreign language market pays the translation fee and splits the royalties between original author and translator at an agreed-upon rate. The translator's royalty is a percentage (usually 15-20 percent) of the original author's royalties.

http://www.writersmarket.com/encyc/T.asp#1223

If you can negotiate getting the 10% royalty on the first printing (say, 5000 books) when you submit the translation, then everything is OK. Especially if several reprints are expected.

However, make sure that 10% of sales means what it is supposed to mean and not 10% of the publisher's profit.



Aisha Maniar wrote:

Dear all,
A good (direct) client has asked me if I'm interested in translating a book and has offered me 10% of sales as payment. I would like to know HOW I should charge for the translation. Does this sound reasonable?
In the past, I have been offered my usual translation rate as a one-off fee. What is the normal pricing practice for book translation?
My client is French; is this pricing practice normal in France?
Thanks for any advice/opinions in advance.
Aisha


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Myriam Garcia Bernabe  Identity Verified
United Kingdom
Local time: 01:18
Member (2003)
English to Spanish
Make sure you do not give up your copyright for the translation Dec 12, 2004

That is another thing to bear in mind. Some publishers only acknoweledge the transaltion done by but some other give you the copyright, that is included in the rights of reproduction they have to buy of the author (s) to publish the book in translation.

Besides, make sure if you are going to only get 10% of sales and no payment for translation that this will be a relatively well sold book. That is, if this is a specialised academic book for a small sector of people, it won't sell that many copies.

Myriam


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Lakshmi Iyer  Identity Verified
France
Local time: 02:18
Italian to English
+ ...
ALTF Dec 13, 2004

You did mention it's a non-literary book, but you might find the Association des traducteurs littéraires de France website (www.atlf.org) useful in any case.
Good luck.


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Aisha Maniar  Identity Verified
Local time: 01:18
Member (2003)
Arabic to English
+ ...
TOPIC STARTER
Thank you :-) Dec 13, 2004

Thank you all for your ideas and the links! I've certainly got a lot to think about but you've given me a better idea.
Thanks again!
Aisha


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